Upon successful completion of this chapter, you will be able to:
- Outline the major components of a data communication system;
- Identify the different types of networks;
- Define the key concepts associated with networking technologies;
- Explain the makeup of the Internet and World Wide Web;
- Describe organizational networking; and
- Summarize widely used web applications for business activities.
In the early days of computing, computers were seen as devices for making calculations, storing data, and automating business processes. However, as the devices evolved, it became apparent that many of the functions of telecommunications could be integrated into the computer. During the 1980s, many organizations began combining their once-separate telecommunications and information systems departments into an Information Technology (IT) department. This ability for computers to communicate with one another and to facilitate communication between individuals and groups has had a major impact on the growth of computing over the past several decades.
Computer networking began in the 1960s with the birth of the Internet. However, while the Internet and web were evolving, corporate networking was also taking shape in the form of local area networks and client-server computing. The Internet went commercial in 1994 as technologies began to pervade all areas of the organization. Today it would be unthinkable to have a computer that did not include communications capabilities. This chapter reviews the different technologies that have been put in place to enable this communications revolution.